Masha Ilyashov was born in Minsk, Belarus, in a family of musicians. She started her piano studies at the age of six at the Special Music School for gifted children. In 1989 she emigrated to the United States and became a scholarship student of Prof. Leonard Hokanson at the Indiana University. She continued her studies at the Carnegie University in Pittsburgh where she received her Master's Degree and Artist Diploma.
Masha Ilyashov has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in North America, Eastern and Western Europe. She was a prize winner in many competitions, performed as a soloist with the Minsk Chamber Orchestra, The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic. Her performance of the Ravel Piano Concerto for the left hand with the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic was broadcasted live by WQED and was recorded on CD.
She resides and teaches in Munich, remaining an active performer.
In 2018, she was appointed Artistic Director of the Schwarz Foundation's Samos Young Artists Festival.
Alexis Karaiskakis is one of the most promising cellists of a new emerging generation of Greek musicians. Based in Athens, Alexis is an active soloist and chamber musician, performing in prestigious venues throughout Europe. He is a founding member of El Greco Piano Trio and plays on a regular basis with the Camerata–Armonia Atenea Athens-based chamber orchestra and Kyklos Ensemble. In 2017, he made his debut in the U.S., performing Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme for Cello and Orchestra. Deeply concerned about historically informed interpretation, he performs with equal enthusiasm and ease on period and modern instruments. He has won two first prizes at the National Cello Competition of the Ministry of Education of Greece and was named Best New Artist of the Year 2011 by the Greek Association of Theatre and Music Critics. He has graduated with distinction from the Conservatoire National de Region de Boulogne-Billancourt in Paris (classes of Xavier Gagnepain, Raphaël Chrétien, Hortense Cartier-Bresson – First Prize for Cello and Chamber Music) and continued at the Hochschule der Künste in Zurich (class of Roel Dieltiens – BA and MA degrees). Throughout his musical education, he has encountered and been tutored by eminent personalities of the cello community, such as Anner Bylsma, Philippe Müller, and Jérôme Pernoo. He teaches the cello, baroque cello and chamber music at Filippos Nakas Conservatory. In 2018, he was appointed Artistic Director of the Schwarz Foundation’s Samos Young Artists Festival.